GIBSON — Detectives are looking for the person or persons who stole two central air units from facilities in Gibson over the weekend.
The first unit was taken from the Gibson Post Office at 4580 S. Main between 4:45 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. Friday, according to the incident report. The building is owned by ZV Pate Inc. The heat pump is valued at $3,600.
The second victim was Gibson Baptist Church at 4961 Gibson Road. A heating and air unit valued at $3,000 was taken from the building at sometime between Wednesday night and Sunday morning, according to the report.
Air conditioning units are a popular item for thieves looking to make a quick dollar, according to law enforcement. They take the copper condenser tubing and wring from the units and other metal to sell for cash at scrap yards. In some cases, the thieves sell the whole unit for a few hundred dollars on third party seller sites.
Authorities say crooks looking to steal a unit, target certain types of buildings. Homes that sit vacant while owners are out of town, buildings for sale, empty rental properties and churches which are often left empty for part of the week are more likely to be hit.
The sheriff’s department advises owners to hold on to the paperwork for their unit and record the serial number, make and model so that if a unit is recovered it can be claimed.
Heating and air companies suggest the following ways to keep an outdoor unit safe:
— Lock down the disconnect box which disengages the system from electrical power. Thieves want the power cut off to so that they can remove the condenser without being electrocuted. Prevent them from opening the disconnect box with a lock and odds are thieves will leave the unit alone.
— Add lighting around the area. The more visibility in the area or the more inaccessible the unit is the better.
— Add security cameras. It is not a fool proof, but if thieves know they are being recorded, they are less likely to risk it or more likely to get caught because police could use the video identify suspects and the license plates.
— Add a unit fence or cage. This is typically the best option.
— Lock all property gates or fences to prevent easy access to the area.
— Remove or secure ladders leading to decks or roofs. This typically applies to office buildings. − Add an AC specific alarm.
— Use tamper resistant screws.
— Attach a GPS tracking to the unit.
— Get a dog. Dogs can be a great deterrent especially big ones.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169